RETIRED BUT NOT TIRED- TRIBAL CIRCUIT OF HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA


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May 26th 2014
Published: May 26th 2014
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RETIRED BUT NOT TIRED- H. P. TRIBAL CIRCUIT TRIP

Age and ailments are not obstacles in realising your dreams. In most of the cases, these are simply mental blocks, which can be easily overcome.

So, there I was, travelling on the tribal circuit of Himachal Pradesh in the month of August 2013, fulfilling my most cherished trip for the last 7-8 years. No big deal- except that, one, I was on the other side of 60 years with two total knee replacement operations just three months ago and, two, I was travelling all alone without any company and that too using public transport, without any prior bookings or reservations.

At the very outset, I will admit that public transport is not the best option, when it comes to enjoying the beauty of nature and for clicking photographs- especially when you get a seat somewhere in the middle of the bus.




DAY ONE {23RD AUG. 13}

On 23rd Aug. 2013, exactly three months after my knee replacement surgeries, I boarded Punjab Roadways bus from Chandigarh to Simla at 11 in the morning, with just two hours sleep during the previous night. Having had my schooling in Simla Hills, Himachal Pradesh has always been fascinating me, being my second home. We bye-passed Kalka, using the new road and joined the old Chandigarh-Simla highway at Parwanoo, an industrial town of Himachal Pradesh. I had fond childhood memories of Kalka, a small sleepy town on the border of Haryana adjoining Himachal and a railhead for narrow gauge toy trains from Kalka to Simla. For those who haven’t travelled by train to Simla, do so on your next trip- it is a must. It started drizzling, after crossing Waknaghat and the light drizzle and heavy fog got transformed into heavy shower by the time we reached Shogi on the out skirts of Simla. The distance between Chandigarh and Simla is 120 kms. The bus was quite fast and I reached new bus stand of Simla by 3.00 p. m., half an hour before anticipated time.

I had to wait for one and a half hour for boarding next bus to Rampur Bushar, capital of the erstwhile princely state of Rampur. Part of this time was utilized for freshening up and having some snacks. The bus left for Rampur at about 4.30 p.m. The distance between Simla and Rampur is about 130 kms. and I had hoped that I would be reaching Rampur in 4 hours by about 8.30 p. m. But that was not to be. The journey from Victory Tunnel to Sanjauli, other end of Simla was quite tedious due to a combination of rain, narrow road and heavy traffic. Thus far, I had only been exposed to travelling on main highways of Himachal Pradesh, where the buses ply really fast. This was my second long journey to interior parts of Himachal Pradesh and it was to be an eye opener. Being the only source of public transport for the locals, the bus would stop at every nook and corner to drop or pick up passengers. There are no non-stop express buses here like Delhi-Chandigarh or Mumbai-Pune. During this part of the year and this part of the day, there is a nonstop one way flow of trucks carrying fruits and vegetables to the plains, scrambling to reach the wholesale markets before day break.

After crossing Simla and its suburbs, the lush green mountains and apple orchards in the valleys were a treat for the eyes. We had a small stop over at Theog. Rain drenched Theog looked all the more beautiful during sunset. I had never been beyond Theog before, so I had a fascinating image of Narkanda, a winter sport hill station of Himachal Pradesh, in my mind. But frankly, seeing Narkanda for the first time was an anti-climax. It is a small non-descript town, with hardly any tourists during the monsoon season. After Narkanda, it was a steep downhill journey with never ending zigzag turns and U-turns. Narkanda is at an altitude of 2708 mts. at a hill top whereas Rampur is at an altitude of 924 mts. in Rampur-Sarahan valley on the banks of river Sutlej. After another stopover at Kingal for tea and snacks, we moved forward.

Our bus reached Rampur at around 10.00 p. m. The markets were totally deserted and even most of the eateries and hotels had called it a day. Being totally new to the place and not being able to gather any meaningful information about hotels, I went for the safe option of getting down at the bus-stand, because I did not want to walk long distance with a 10 kg haversack. But it proved to be a wrong decision, because the new bus-stand was situated in a remote corner away from the main market. There was only one lodge in the bus-stand building two floors down. The owner of the lodge may not have been good in maintaining it, but he was an expert in the Economics Theory of Demand and Supply. The lodge was very poorly furnished and seemed pricey, not that I was looking for a star category hotel. So, I boarded another bus to take me to the old bus stand or the main market. The bus conductor was really nice and he not only obliged me with a free ride, but also guided me.

The old bus stand on the main road was also deserted and there was nobody to guide me, so I trusted my instincts and groped down pitch dark steep stone stairway. After two failed attempts, I could locate one reasonably priced clean hotel near the main market. The hotel room was on the first floor and had huge roaring sound, enough to scare a first timer in the hills, but with my experience of school days, I knew that I was close to some river. The next morning was an eye opener bringing huge bonanza. The room had windows on all three sides with a 180 degree view. In the morning I realized that that the hotel was on the edge of the bank of river Sutlej and the room and its gallery provided me with unparalleled view of the river.




DAY TWO {24TH Aug. 13}

Despite being deep inside Himachal Pradesh and away from the plains, Rampur was very warm and so I had no intention of spending one day in Rampur. Although, I wanted to visit Sarahan valley, just 35 kms. from Rampur, but travelling in public transport had its drawbacks. The frequency of buses is very low in interior parts of Himachal Pradesh, so I decided to save one day and thus skipped Sarahan valley. At the time of breakfast I realized that all of a sudden I was in a different food world, with most of the small eateries serving momos, thupka and noodles. Being a pure vegetarian did not help either, because non-veg food had started dominating veg food. But being an avid traveler and a foodie, the change was more than welcome. A small stroll in old market of Rampur, brought me to the old world. In this part of the world, a small market would have an assortment of all kinds of shops catering to the needs of the locals and inhabitants of the adjoining villages. Here you would find grocery stores selling vegetables and fruits as well and a general store doubling up as an eatery also.

Same day, by 11.30 a. m. I had boarded Himachal Pradesh Roadways bus for Recong Peo, the divisional headquarter of Kinnaur valley. Recong Peo is 100 kms. from Rampur on NH-22. We were going uphill along the mighty Sutlej river. The terrain was still the same with fair amount of greenery. About 30 kms. ahead lies the Nathpa and Jhakri hydel power generation system with a series of barrages. It is an assuring site of India’s economic progress. As gradually the terrain changed from green mountains to barren brown cold desert mountains, the tar road literally vanished due to double-laning work of the road and off course the frequent landslide. At around 3.00 p.m., I came across the first landslide of my trip. Between Wangtoo and Karcham the road was blocked due to landslide and was being cleared by Border Road Organization personnel. The local co-passengers were of the view that the road would be cleared in about half an hour’s time. Vehicles kept on arriving and waiting patiently on both sides as the work progressed. There I came across two youngsters from Mumbai on bike. They were travelling all the way from Mumbai on bike and their other friends had crossed over to other side just before the land slide. On this side of the river the road was being cleared at a furious pace, whereas, minor landslides were going on unabated on the other side of the river. As minutes changed into hours, all of a sudden, there was an apprehension about being stranded overnight in the middle of nowhere. For the first time I realized the benefits of travelling with other people in a public transport. Eventually, after two hours’ toil and some induced blasts, the road was cleared. All of a sudden, the enormity of responsibility being shouldered by BRO dawned on me. What if, there was no BRO to clear the roads in this desert? After reaching Powari, we left the bank of river Satluj and went uphill on the left for Recong Peo. The distance of 6 kms. to Recong Peo was covered in more than an hour, thanks to a foolhardy attempt at overtaking by a private bus driver, which caused a traffic jam. Unlike the mayhem common on Delhi roads and other parts of northern India, such indiscretion on the part of a driver is a rarity in these parts.

On reaching Recong Peo at 7.00 p. m., this time I did not commit the mistake of disembarking at new bus stand. Instead, I got down at old bus stand, which can also be termed as city centre. By this time I had realized that in most of the places in Himachal Pradesh, new bus stand had been constructed outside the cities in view of the congestion at the old bus stands, which were mostly located in the heart of the city/town with hotels within walking distances. I could find a modest hotel to my satisfaction, within reasonable price range {Rs. 400.00 only}. By a strange coincidence, this amount became a benchmark and hotels at all subsequent destinations had the same price tag. Another constant was the fact that all hotels had very steep stairs, making it extremely difficult to come down with my haversack in view of the restricted mobility of my knees.




DAY THREE {25TH AUG. 13}

Next morning brought with it the charm and serenity of a good hill station. The city centre was virtually empty, with occasional vehicle zipping past. The air was cool and fresh and the view of the snow clad mountains on the other side of the valley was truly amazing. I tried desperately to locate mount Kinnaur Kailash, the said abode of Lord Shiva, the destroyer. A local guided me that the mountain can be seen either from the Dak Bungalow near the new bus stand or from Kalpa, the erstwhile headquarters of Kinnaur district. After breakfast, I headed for Kalpa in a local private bus. The 13 kms. journey from Recong Peo to Kalpa was spell bounding. The uphill road was lined with orchards laden with bright red apples and other fruits and thick pine forest. 13 kms distance was covered in one hour, but it was worth it.

Kalpa was that typical small town of Himachal Pradesh, but with a very unique charm of its own. Kalpa is famous for Kinnaur apples. Like any other small town in the hills, more than half the buildings comprised of small shops, tea stalls and eateries. It has narrow clean lanes, filled with furry dogs and playing children. Kalpa has an old monastery and also an old Hindu temple. The woodwork of the Hindu temple is exquisite, not to be seen in the cities. The temple is out of bounds for outsiders and the natives are also required to come to the temple in the traditional local attire.

Other side of Kalpa town is lined with fruit orchards one after the other. The arching branches on the narrow road were laden with ripe fruits. But strangely, the air is so full of purity in this part of the country that plucking a fruit without the owners’ permission seemed like a grave sin. The local postman pointed out the direction of mount Kinnaur Kailash, but the mountain was covered with clouds. I sat on a parapet wall for two hours just to have a glimpse of holy mount Kinnaur Kailash. But, that was not one of my lucky days and as cloud cover thickened, I had no option but to give up and start back for Recong Peo.

Walking in a thick pine forest filled with rustling sound of the leaves is an exhilarating experience. So, instead of taking a bus ride, I started walking to Recong Peo. After walking for more than an hour I boarded a bus in order to save time. I got down from the bus just before the district hospital and the new bus stand, in order to visit a monastery. The walk from the road to the monastery was very steep, literally taking the wind out of my lungs. It is a new monastery, with a school and an attached orchard. After seeing the monastery, again I walked 3 kms back to my hotel in Recong Peo

I reached my hotel at around 6.00 in the evening. There was a photograph of Kothi temple of Chandika Devi in the reception of the hotel. I was told that the temple is 4 kms from the hotel and there is no public transport for going there. As I had already walked more than 8 kms that day, I desisted from walking another 8 kms to and fro the temple.




DAY FOUR {26TH AUG. 13}

Next morning I reached the Old Bus Stand early, for boarding 6.00 am Recong Peo-Kaza bus for Tabo. I was lucky that I could get a good seat, despite not boarding from the starting point of New Bus Stand. We traversed back 7 kms. steep downhill up to Powari on Rampur Kaza NH-22 and from there we took left turn moving up along river Sutlej. By 9.00 a. m., I had reconciled to the fact that road blocks due to landslides is a routine matter here. But, BRO personnel and equipments always reached the spot within minutes to clear the mess.

As a result of this trip, I have become a great fan of the employees of Himachal Pradesh Roadways Corporation. The drivers and conductors of the buses do their best in plying the buses and trying to reach the destination in time against all odds. For the first time, I realized that a flat bus tyre could also be a blessing in disguise. Our bus got a flat rear tyre, so we stopped for more than one hour at Puh for mending the tyre. That gave me an opportunity to view to the beautiful Puh valley for that long. Puh is a small town, famous for fruit orchards and vineyards.

After Khab, we left Sutlej river and turned left into Spiti valley. At Malling after Nako village on top of a mountain, I learnt that the road ahead was badly damaged. So the buses drop the passengers at this end of the bad stretch and the passengers have to cross to the other side after trekking for about 1.5 kms. at an altitude of 12500 ft. carrying their luggage with them. The stretch is also notorious for shooting stones, which makes the trek all the more adventurous. But the icing on the cake of this walk was the last 200 mts. portion, where one had to cross a deep gorge with one’s luggage doing a balancing act over a steel girder. On the other side of this stretch, another bus is waiting to carry the passengers onwards to Kaza. The initial part of the journey was a steep downhill drive to join the valley again.

Due to the landslide and the flat tyre, we reached Tabo after 6.00 in the evening, as against the scheduled arrival time of 4.00 p.m. Sh. Utreti, Branch Manager of SBI branch of Kaza was also travelling in the same bus. He guided me for the next two days’ travel. For a change, as per Sh. Utreti’s advice, I got down at the new bus stand in Tabo, which is inside the village. Here the old bus stand is on the main road, outside the village.

In Tabo, I could get a room in a small hotel behind SBI branch for Rs. 400.00. Those looking for star category hotels in Rampur, Kinnaur, Spiti and Lahaul would be hugely disappointed. In the entire belt, only small modest hotels are available. Lately, home stays have become a fad here, with very good options. But these would be slightly costlier compared to hotel stay. Another piece of advice for travelers in these parts is to recharge your mobile phones and camera batteries at the first available opportunity. Due to the harsh conditions here, power failure is a routine feature. Another thing that I learnt here very quickly was to heat the water in the geyser in the night only for next day’s bath. More often than not, there was no electricity in the mornings.

Tabo is a small Buddhist hamlet 40 kms. before Kaza. It has got hardly 250 houses, many of them hotels, lodges, eateries and petty shops. But it is the most beautiful place in the entire tribal circuit of Himachal Pradesh. It is a small green oasis nestled in the high brown barren mountains. The air is at its purest form and the sky is azure blue, not to be seen anywhere in the plains of India. Due to scarcity of vegetation, oxygen content is very low in the air. One has to be on guard and watchful of symptoms of high mountain sickness.




DAY FIVE {27TH AUG. 2013}

Tabo and its adjoining areas are real treasure house of ancient Buddhist history. Tabo monastery in the heart of the town is more than 1000 years old. It is an old structure made of mud and wood, with priceless Buddhist paintings and artifacts. His Holy Highness the Dalai Lama had attended the 10th centenary function of the monastery. A local Buddhist staff member of SBI branch arranged a trip to the innermost chamber of the monastery, where non-Buddhists are normally not allowed. There are very old caves uphill on the other side of the highway. These caves are said to have been the meditation centres for the lamas. A visit to the caves is a must, which I could not do due to my knee surgeries.

In view of the lack of convenient public transport, for the first time on this trip, I hired a private vehicle for visiting Giu village and Key monastery. For Giu village, we had to travel back up to Sumdo on the highway towards Nako village and then head left uphill for 7 kms. on brown barren mountains. Those coming from Recong Peo side in their own vehicles can take a right turn uphill for Giu. after Sumdo. Giu is a small village having around 70-80 houses. It attained fame with the excavation of more than 500 year old mummy of a Lama, sitting in meditation posture. The mummy was discovered accidentally, when during routine digging work by Indo Tibetan Border Police personnel, the spade struck the skull of the mummy and blood started oozing out from the skull. The skin and eyeballs of the mummy are still intact. The mummy is unique due to the astonishing fact that no chemicals have been used to preserve the body. After this find, teams of various scientists camped in the village for weeks to carry out extensive tests on the mummy. The most baffling outcome of the tests was that the internal organs of the body were intact even after 500 years.

After visiting Giu, we headed back and crossed Tabo again heading for Dhankar monastery. Dhankar village has two monasteries. One on the edge of the cliff is more than 1000 years old structure made out of mud, stones and wood and the other monastery is new, right at the entrance of the village. I visited the old monastery which is a heritage structure and skipped the new monastery. The entrance of Pin valley is visible from the Dhankar monastery. In June 2013, due to heavy cloud burst in this region, the road bridge to Pin Valley National Park {famous for Ibex} had been washed away. So there was no way that I could go to Pin Valley National Park. But I did not miss the main attraction of the park, which I was to discover later.

On our way back to the highway, I came across an Israeli student tourist, who was going to Kaza like me. I gave him lift up to a small hamlet of Sichling, 22 kms. from Tabo towards Kaza. After waiting for almost two hours for the Recong Peo-Kaza bus, I could get lift in the private car, thanks to the owner of my vehicle. The people there are so friendly and helpful, that, despite 3 passengers in the small Maruti car, the car owner readily gave lift to two of us- me and the Israeli student. The owner of the car dropped us at the junction of Kaza bye pass. Bus stand is hardly 200 mts. from there, where there were number of reasonably priced hotels. Although, Sh. Utreti Branch Manager of SBI Kaza branch, who was travelling with me in the bus the previous day from Recong Peo to Tabo, had kindly invited me to stay with him, but I did not feel like bothering him. So I checked into a hotel near the bus stand and after having tea, went to see Sh. Utreti. There is only one narrow road going up from the bus stand, which is the main market of Kaza. The other end of the road touches the highway near the grand new Buddhist monastery. The monastery was closed, so I decided to come again next day. But, I did visit the Indian Oil’s retail petrol outlet, which is the highest petrol pump in the world. Kaza was the highest point on this tour thus far, but , surprisingly it turned out to be quite warm.




DAY SIX {28TH AUG. 2013}

Next morning brought a very pleasant surprise. In the morning, I was having tea in the hotel balcony, clicking pictures of the serenity of Spiti valley. One youngster arrived in the compound of the hotel on a bike. It took me a while to recognize that he was one of the two boys from Mumbai whom I had met three days ago at the time of land slide traffic hold up near Karcham. Thus far, I was thinking that the bikers must have turned back from Nako village, where the road was totally destroyed. I was curious to know, how they had crossed that stretch. He [Alok} informed me that when they reached Nako village, being a Sunday, there was no BRO labor at Nako. So, they took a night halt in Nako village and next morning, with the help of BRO labor, they lifted their bikes across the steel girder. Hats off to these adventurous souls.

In Kaza also, I had to hire a car for visiting Key monastery and Kibber village [highest altitude village in the world- accessible by road}. In these valleys, government buses to remote villages go in the evening and return early next morning. Thus, 4-5 hour trip by car would take two days by public transport. We went about 7 kms. on the highway towards Manali and then took a right turn uphill for Kye monastery. It is an old monastery some 15 kms. from Kaza and the uphill road is good. But this monastery is not considered as important as Tabo and Kye monasteries by the Buddhists. The monastery is in much better shape, compared to the Key monastery.

From Kye monastery, we came back to the diversion and went uphill for Kibber village situated at an altitude of 4205 mts. Kibber is 19 kms. from Kaza. There were two surprises in the village. First, despite being situated at such a high altitude, the village was much warmer than what I had anticipated. But in these barren mountains, the weather can take a u-turn within minutes. Second, this high altitude remote village had all the basic amenities such as road, water supply, school and primary health centre etc. which are not available in most of the villages in the plains. The place had couple of hotels and some home stay arrangements. Horticulture and agriculture is quite advanced in the entire tribal circuit of Himachal Pradesh. On the other side of the village, I met some foreign trekkers, who were coming all the way from Leh in Ladakh.

After spending some time in the village, we headed back for Kaza and I got down from the car at the Kaza monastery. But, I was second time unlucky, because the Lama holding the key of the monastery had gone somewhere with the key. After strolling around in the monastery for half an hour, I lost hope and headed down through the main market to my hotel room. Now I had to book bus ticket for tomorrow to Gramphoo in the Kaza-Manali bus departing at 5.00, next morning. An interesting thing that I learnt at this juncture, was that the ticket can the booked only after 5.00 in the evening. What was the rationale of starting booking after 5.00 p.m.? Simple. The departure of the next morning bus is subject to safe arrival of the bus coming from Manali to Kaza, because the same bus would be returning to Manali the next morning. Having secured the ticket for Gramphoo for next morning, I was free for rest of the evening. So, I sat on the parapet wall near the entrance gate of the bus stand. For the next one hour, I was mesmerized by the sunset of surrounding mountains of Kaza, watching one peak after the other being engulfed by darkness. I sat there watching, till the highest last peak was won over by shade. That evening, Sh. Utreti, Branch Manager of SBI, invited me to his place for dinner. He narrated to me, how the branch starts its functioning during winters with sub minus 20 degree temperatures. As there is no electricity, first frozen diesel oil has to be heated by lighting a fire. Then the frozen generator is started with lot of difficulty. This in turn charges the UPS batteries. Only then, computer systems of the branch can start functioning. This entire process takes around two hours.




DAY SEVEN {29TH AUG. 2013}

Next morning, the bus departed for Manali sharp at 5.00 in the morning. It was still dark in the valley, so after being watchful for some time for something new and exciting, I started drowsing. We stopped after two hours for breakfast at Losar. There was also a barrier, where foreign nationals were required to get their papers and permits checked. The uphill journey ahead was a nightmare, as far as the road condition is concerned. The road was virtually non-existent, with the bus driver having to patiently negotiate large potholes and boulders at every meter. I was perhaps dosing, when I heard some commotion in the bus. On focusing my eyes, I saw passengers animatedly pointing to one side of the bus. And there, behold, was a pair of two Ibex standing proudly on a small cliff. By the time I could think of clicking pictures and looked for my camera, they were gone.

By around 11.00 in the morning, we reached Kunzum La, the highest pass in Spiti valley, situated at an altitude of 4590 mts. We had a 15 minute break here, when everybody was praying in the monastery cum temple and people like me were clicking photographs. After Kunzum La, it was steep downhill on a fair weather road. After about 5 kms., there is a diversion towards right for trek to Chandrabhaga Lake, which I had to just forget with a heavy heart. With every passing kilometer, the road got from bad to worst and it was undoubtedly the worst patch of the road. Due to melting glaciers, road had been washed off and strong rivulets were criss-crossing the road. During this stretch, a car had a flat tyre in the middle of a stream. The traffic had halted and the passengers of our bus, helped in changing the wheel. We started crawling forward, for being blocked once again by the same car, which was ahead of us. This time the car got stuck in a stream having big boulders. Again the passengers and staff of the bus came to the rescue of the car. Stones were planted strategically in
front of the car tyres to provide some friction and the car was literally lifted out of the stream by the passengers.

We descended to the valley at Batal and from there we moved in the valley, literally on the river bed up to Chatru, which was our mid-day meal stop. Chatru was the smallest village I have seen in terms of population, with a population of just 20 people. In fact there are no houses here, just 3-4 eateries catering to needs of the entire spectrum of passengers. After lunch at Chatru, we started ascending in the valley towards Gramphoo, which is junction of Manali-Kaza and Manli-Keylong- Leh road. We reached Gramphoo after 2.00 p. m. I got down from the bus here and waited more than half an hour for the next bus to Keylong. Gramphoo also is nothing but a small road junction having some dhabas {eateries}. Being located on a small ridge just below the Rohtang Pass, the breeze is very strong.

The bus journey from Gramphoo to Keylong took almost three hours. Road was good in some stretches. But journey was very scenic, with one glacier view after the other. In Keylong also, I got down at the old bus stand, where I could easily find hotel at a reasonable price.




DAY EIGHT {30TH AUG. 2013}

I had done some home work previous evening. So, by 9.00 a.m. I had boarded the bus for Trilokinath, famous for an old Lord Shiva temple. The distance of 60 odd kms. was covered in more 3.00 hours. The route was lined with lush green fields and fruit-laden orchards. Much to my surprise, I found that Lahaul valley is very advanced in horticulture and agriculture. The number of cars parked outside houses and the quality of construction of houses, was a testimony of economic well-being of the region. Every village had drinking water, primary health centre and school. I was told by the locals that due to agriculture and tourism, Lahaul district was among affluent districts of Himachal Pradesh.

Trilokinath temple is unique in the sense that it is a Hindu {Shiva} temple, but the temple is looked after {including prayers etc.} by Buddhist lamas. This is so because of a dispute long back, as to whether it was a Hindu temple or a Buddhist monastery. After visiting the temple, I was having some snacks and tea in an eatery. There I saw a dish, which I had never seen before. On enquiring, I was told by the lady managing the eatery that it was steamed intestine of sheep. It looked quite enticing, but being a vegetarian, I had to forego the thought of tasting it.

From Trilokinath, I proceeded to Udaipur town, which is 16 kms. from Trilokinath. Udaipur is a small town in the valley, which is known for an old Hindu temple of a goddess. The entire temple built of mud stones and wood. The interior of the temple is a wooden structure with a very low entrance to the main temple. One has to literally crawl to enter the temple. After more than 3 hours wait for the bus, I reached back to my hotel in Keylong after 9.30 p.m.




DAY NINE {31ST AUG. 2013}

It was the last day of my trip and like all such occasions, it was truly heartbreaking. Due to some confusion, I reached the bus stand at 8.45 a. m. thinking that the bus for Manali would be departing at 9.00p.m., whereas, the actual departure time was 8.00 a. m. After a long wait for the next bus to Manali, I opted for a sharing basis taxi. By 3.00 p. m. I reached Manali, after crossing Rohtang pass {3978 mts.}. I could not view the valleys on either side of Rohtang due to heavy fog and rain. Manali valley was as beautiful as ever. My overnight bus for Delhi was to depart at 5.00 p.m. After booking the bus ticket, I only had time for a brief stroll on the Mall Road of Manali, which was very crowded. I also rushed to the factory outlet of the Weavers Co-operative at the upper end of Mall Road for purchase of authentic Kullu shawls. And at 5.00 p.m. I was saying good bye to Manali, hoping that there is always some new trip to some exiting place waiting in the future. It could be Uttaranchal or Ladakh once again.



Delhi-Simla- Rampur-Recong Peo-Kalpa-Tabo-Kaza-Keylong-Manali-Delhi

A. Total Duration- 9 days



B. Total Approximate Cost- Rs. 11000.00 {USD 183 approx.}



Anil Sharma, Indore, India

Mobile- 91-9425067146



E-mail: akr.sharma53@gmail.com

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4th June 2014

Its a great read, reminds you of the fact that we are as old as we choose to be and not beyond.
4th June 2014

Thanks

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